(Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto) More than twenty Canadian labour unions, not-for-profit, and civil society organizations today released an open statement to express their solidarity and support to Indigenous, labour, campesino and civil-society organizations currently engaged in nationwide protests against the IMF-imposed economic austerity package.
The letter calls on the Canadian government to end its silence with respect to the state-ordered repression, and questions the lack of Canadian media coverage of the massive protests in Ecuador, compared to the vigour in which the media covers the protests in countries such as Hong Kong or Venezuela.
The letter denounced any attempts by Canadian mining companies to use the economic and political crisis to further their investments, noting that Canadian mining will not solve the foreign debt crisis.
“Canada is the origin of the majority of mining companies currently working in Ecuador. Their projects, which total more than 40, are being actively and broadly opposed. We are seeing evidence that the companies are using the debt crisis to promote their projects and we are worried this will only add fuel to the fire for state-ordered repression against Indigenous, campesino, and rural peoples who are rightfully protesting the expansion of the extractive frontier," said Kirsten Francescone, Latin America Coordinator at MiningWatch Canada. "Ecuadorians should be able to decide how they choose to live, especially if they chose livelihoods alternative to mining. We don’t need any more mining disasters in the world.”
Labour austerity measures were a big part of the package, threatening job security, reducing vacation time and wages as part of a broader "rationalization" of the labour force to improve Foreign Direct Investment. The letter also made explicit reference to the attacks on the labor movement.
“The Ontario Secondary Teachers’ Federation stands in solidarity with the Ecuadorian Indigenous organizations, trade unions, teachers unions, and peasant organizations in opposition to the government’s significant austerity measures. The continued assault on public institutions in the name of cost-cutting and balancing the budget that we see across the globe, undermines the rights of youth, workers, and the most vulnerable in our societies. We must continue to fight back against these attacks and to assert our solidarity with those who raise their voices in protest and to call upon our own government to end its silence about the events in Ecuador.”
On October 14th, as a result of ten days of unrelenting protests in the country’s capital, Quito and in the rest of the country, along with increased international support for the protestors, the austerity measures (Decree 883) were repealed by the government of President Lenin Moreno.
"The Ecuadorian people, notably Indigenous peoples, sent a clear message to the world: that big capital and anti-sovereign governments have to stop their extractive offensive on bodies and territories. Although Decree 883 has been abrogated, the international community must continue to condemn the repression perpetrated by Lenin Moreno's government and demand justice for those who have been criminalized, injured or killed during legitimate popular uprising," said Rosa Peralta from the Committee for Human Rights in Latin America (CDHAL)
- Association Québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale (AQOCI)
- Breaking the Silence Maritimes- Guatemala Network
- British Columbia Government and Service Employees Union
- British Columbia Teachers’ Federation
- Carleton University Political Economy
- Common Frontiers
- Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique latine (CDHAL)
- Convergencia Social Toronto
- Council of Canadians
- Groupe de solidarité avec le peuple shuar
- International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG)
- Inter Pares
- KAIROS Canada
- Kitchen Table Collective
- Latin American & Caribbean Solidarity Network
- Maritimes-Guatemala Breaking the Silence Network
- Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (MISN)
- Mining Justice Action Committee (MJAC)
- MiningWatch Canada
- Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF)
- The United Church of Canada / L'Église Unie du Canada
- Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs
- United Steelworkers